The glitz and glamour of the startup ecosystem does little to show the grind that goes behind making a successful company. While fundraising is an important aspect, it is one of the ways to build a valuable business. First-time entrepreneurs need to make conscious business decisions without being influenced by what everyone else is doing in the ecosystem.
Avlesh Singh, Co-founder and CEO, WebEngage joins YourStory’s Manasi Phadnis to address first-time founders and discuss what it takes to build a valuable company.
Building teams with purpose
As WebEngage enters its 11th year, Avlesh credits the team and the senior leadership that helped the company sail through the difficult times. “The ability to absorb shocks essentially helps you at the most difficult junctures in your business journey. I, and my co-founder Ankit have built a resilient culture and a belief system that led us to build a successful company like WebEngage,” says Avlesh.
WebEngage is a full-stack customer retention platform to help businesses engage better with their customers.
In this competitive age, Avlesh believes it is important for teams to ignore the noise and focus on building a product that solves the problem and eventually generates revenue. “Each team that exists within WebEngage works towards a purpose. We as founders help the team realise the purpose and motivate them to stay focussed on building a great product,” adds Avlesh.
Identifying the real competition
Even after being one of the early movers in the marketing automation industry, WebEngage faces a lot of competition today. “To deal effectively with the competition, it is crucial to identify who the real competition is. Not all companies in the marketing tech space are directly competing with us. It is vital to understand which marketing tech companies are operating broadly in the mobile engagement space and which are the ones offering one-stop-shop solutions. The ability to understand this is unique to team WebEngage,” shares Avlesh.
Further elaborating on this aspect, he highlights that the focus is more on customers than the competition. “We believe there is a huge section of customers that have been underserved for years and that’s where the opportunity lies for us,” he says.
Raising capital at the right time
Emphasising how the fundraising ecosystem is different for B2B and B2C companies, Avlesh explains how raising capital was never a milestone in their decade of business journey. “As founders, we only raise capital when we truly know what to do with it. Our fundraising decisions are not based on what other startups are doing, or how much money is available in the market,” he says.
WebEngage recently raised $20 million in a funding round led by Singularity Growth Opportunities Fund and SWC Global and with participation from existing investors India Quotient, Blume Ventures, and IAN Fund.
According to Avlesh, it does not take capital to build a growth engine for a business. Apart from a good product and catering to the needs of consumers, there are a lot of factors that make a growth engine for a particular startup. Once the engine is set, capital will further help accelerate and take the business to the next level of growth.